Photo By Kristen Prahl at istock
Most of us don’t really know how we’ll respond to an emergency until we’re faced with a dangerous situation. The likelihood of keeping ourselves and our families safe in an emergency is greatly increased by creating a plan in advance.
Electricity is the foundation of modern life. It runs through almost every home in the United States, but we shouldn’t forget that electricity can be dangerous. Create a plan to keep your family safe in an electrical emergency and keep contact information for an emergency electrician in Wilmington, NC, within easy reach.
Consequences of an Electrical Emergency
Fire is one of the biggest dangers of an electrical emergency. Never try to douse an electrical fire with water. You could make the situation worse. It’s best to let proper authorities handle fires, but use a fire extinguisher on small fires if you can do so safely.
Another severe risk of an electrical emergency is electrocution. Possible symptoms of electrocution include:
- irregular heartbeat
- a tingling, slight burning, or prickling feeling
- heart attack
- respiratory arrest
Unfortunately, severe electrocution can also cause life-threatening burns. Severe shocks can have long-term consequences in some cases. People may experience memory loss, anxiety, panic attacks, reduced attention span, trouble concentrating, or symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder.
Poor coordination, limited range of motion, muscle spasms, and recurring seizures are possible long-term physical effects. If physical symptoms haven’t occurred within 24-48 hours, they probably won’t occur at all. An additional concern in cases of electrocution are secondary injuries. People may jerk violently away from the source of electricity and experience injury by falling or colliding with walls or objects.
Call an ambulance for electrical shock if the person has been burned or lost consciousness. Mild electrocution may not require medical care, but you can always seek medical help to be safe. Children and people with a history of cardiac issues or seizures should see a medical professional for any electric shock. Handling electrical problems without proper training increases risk of injury, so call an emergency electrician for help instead.
Carbon monoxide is usually not thought of as an electrical emergency, but it can be. Improperly installed or poorly ventilated appliances can cause a build-up of carbon monoxide in your home. Carbon monoxide alarms are mostly electrical devices that monitor levels of the deadly gas. Some CO alarms are also smoke detectors, but alarms don’t do any good if they aren’t working.
Check all smoke and CO detectors in your home on a regular basis. If CO levels reach unsafe levels, get out of the house immediately and call emergency services. Calling an electrician has to wait until the home is safe to enter again. On the other hand, an emergency electrician may be able to help if you notice CO levels creeping up, but still within safe levels, and need to find the problem.
Burning, Sparking, Heat
Never ignore a burning odor, especially if it originates from walls, appliances, cords, or outlets. You should pay attention to any unusual smell around outlets or wires. A warm outlet is an even more significant sign of trouble. Unplug anything connected to affected outlets and try to remove everything connected to an unusually warm wall.
Sparking outlets are also a bad sign. Some sparking is normal, but a shower of sparks is not. Black smudge marks on outlets or surrounding wall areas come from heat or fire. Don’t use suspicious outlets again until an emergency electrician inspects your electrical system.
In certain conditions, static electricity can build up on surfaces or objects. A person touching these charged services experiences a mild shock, but that isn’t the main danger from static electricity. The electricity may discharge on its own in the presence of flammable or combustible materials and cause a fire. Proper grounding significantly decreases risk of static build-up. You may need an emergency electrician if you notice static build-up in a hazardous environment, but call emergency services in case of fire or explosion.
A power outage could be a sign of an electrical problem. Most power outages in Wilmington, NC, are caused by events outside the home and affect certain areas instead of individual homes. Don’t automatically assume that an abrupt outage has an outside cause. Check your neighborhood or the closest lighted structure to your home.
If the outage is widespread, it’s probably just a matter of time until electric service is restored. An outage confined to your home means there is a problem in your electrical infrastructure. Consider calling an emergency electrician if you’re unable to find the cause of the outage. The problem could be damaged wiring inside walls or some other hidden area.
The service panel is the main hub of electricity in your home. Call an emergency electrician if your service panel is hot enough to cause discomfort or exhibits any other unusual signs, such as frayed wires, burnt or charred areas, or rust and corrosion. One of the first signs of a service panel malfunction is dimming lights throughout the house.
Humming from an electrical panel is normal. It comes from electric current vibrations as it moves through wires. Hissing or crackling sounds are not normal and may indicate overheating or damaged wire insulation. Loud noises could indicate a faulty circuit breaker or loose connection, but unusual noises often precede a complete panel malfunction.
Faulty electric panels can also force too much current into appliances and lead to overheating. A single overheated appliance is probably isolated damage to that appliance, but multiple cases of overheating in different appliances come from problems in your electrical system. Carefully assess the panel and call an emergency electrician if you’re unsure of the situation.
Call Mister Sparky of Wilmington for help with electrical issues in your home. The emergency electricians at Mister Sparky have the education and experience to safely address potentially harmful electrical problems.